tv Consider This Al Jazeera August 21, 2014 10:00am-11:01am EDT
>> al jazeera america presents >> just because you're pregnant, don't mean you're life's ended. >> 15 stories one incredible journey edge of eighteen premiers september 7th only on al jazeera america >> the world faces it's worst refugee crisis in decades, conflicts from afghanistan to syria, iraq, sudan, and saudi arabia. no one is suffering more than children, and relief organizations are overwhelmed. women face abuse, and religious freedom is under assault from
china to russia, and attacks on people who tell those stories, journalists, happening around the globe, including here at home. we begin with a staggering number of refugees world wild, as the list of armed conflicts around the world has grown, the people forced to flee their home now exceeds 50 million, the highest since world war. launching a massive operation to bring aid to half a million people driven from their homes by islamic state fighters. >> most still living in schools, mosques, churches, and unfinished buildings. >> so 9 million people have fled their homes because of syria's brutal civil war. almost 3 million refugees have escaped to neighboring
countries, turkey, jord and not iraq, and south sudan in africa, half a million refugees, some internal, and some in caverns in uganda. and meanwhile, muslims in the central african republic has led to 30,000 refugees since last march, and many are dying in desperate attempts to find a better life. i'm joined from washington d.c., by jeff chris, focusing on field research and advocacy on behalf of displaced populations, it's good to have you with us, and this is a worldwide problem. there are hundreds of thousands of refugees in latin america, but it's the brutal conflicts underway in africa, the middle east, central asia, the war in afghanistan, and the syrian civil war seems to be the deadliest and the largest number of refugees. has any recent conflict
creanted so much havoc for as many people so quickly some. >> looking at the growable picture, it looks pretty grim. and in my time working with the refugees in these areas, i can't remember a time when there have been so many conflicts simultaneously, creating so much move. people. you mentioned syria, and it's a situation that's preoccupying moment. >> you just saw the map, and looking at the number in lebanon, almost 900,000 people. and as we said, it's like taking the whole population of canada and moving it to the united states in a couple of years. >> the situation in lebanon is quite extraordinary. i've had the opportunity to go there in the past few months, and physically, you can see refugee villages everywhere throughout the country. and as you just said, it's equivalent to the number of canadians moving into the
united states in a period of 18 months or two years, and one of the things we are beginning to appreciate in lebanon is not just the refugees that we have to worry b. but it's also the populations. a large number of people flood across the border, suddenly into towns and cities, it puts pressure on the local resources and infrastructure and education resources. so whereas a community has focused on the refugees themselves, we're beginning to look at the host populations and what we can do for them and that's the real challenge. >> with these problems around the world, we found there are 10 million long-term refugees around the world, and that includes palestinians, who have been in refugee camps for a long time. and there are 30 million people around the world who are displaced. 7 million in afghanistan and
pakistan, and somali and kenya, and sudanese. thailand. it's happening everywhere. are the u.s. and world powers doing enough to help. >> well, i think the response is different according to the country concerned. the international response, and in particular the u.s. response to the syrian crisis has been extraordinary, and there has been an extreme amount of resourcesed" to the operation. the middle east is a volatile region, and it's a great interest to the united states, whereas if we take for example the central african republic, which is probably a country that most american citizens haven't heard of or don't know too much about, it's much more difficult to raise funds for a country like that that doesn't have the same importance as a country like lebanon. >> some of these refugees are not crossing the nearest border but going enormous distances, some overseas, and some as far as australia.
we have seen hundreds this past year die in the mediterranean when their overcrowded boats sank. and oftentimes, once they get to the places they're going to they don't get a very good reception. >> absolutely. and on the other hand, there are places where the refugees get a good reception. i was just watching aljazeera america, and i saw a very nice picture of a somali ice hockey team playing in sweden where they have integrated very well. but australia is a good example of a country that's giving extremely hostile reception to refugees, intercepting their boats, and sending them back to indonesia and sending them to remote pacific islands in extreme conditions, without the prospect of long-term future in australia. so there are generous countries around the world, but also very countries. >> so many people suffering in
so many places, jeff crisp, thank you for your time. thanks to the conflicts last year, the world witnessed the biggest displacement of religious communities in memory. 75% of the people in the world live in countries that do not respect religious freedom. john kerry singled out theids lambic group, where christians have been told to converter die. >> isis have declared that any remaining christians must convert, pay a tax or be executed on the spot. around the world, oppressive governments and groups have been clear about what they stand against, so we have to be equally clear when what we must stand for. >> in early august,
i had the opportunity to speak to the deputy secretary of state about rights and labor about the report. and steven, good to have you with us, this is a grim report card in religious freedoms. you single out countries that are the top offenders, they go from former soviet republics to africa. and the map we're putting up now are the worst offenders, but it includes russia and turkey and cuba. you said this is the worst in recent memory and how bad are things compared to say ten years ago? >> thanks for the question and for having me o and i think with this, what we saw was not only a continuation of countries, but north carolina, iran, syria and so forth, but
we actually saw rising incidences in new conflicts emerge, places like the central african republic, for example, continuing turmoil in the middle east, that led to a whole significance when it comes to rising tide in a worst trend line when it comes to religious freedom. so what is different, and we haven't quantified it in specific terms in what we will be reporting, the trend line particularly for last year was particularly bad. >> one of the biggest in the report was much of the middle east, the christian presence, and it was becoming a shadow of its former self. hundreds of thousands of minority christians have fled syria in that civil war, and the arab spring brought tumultuous times to that region. and it has impacted religious freedoms. and where do you see the worst of it in the middle east? >> certainly, i think looking
at where the ongoing conflict is currently centered, so looking at syria and iraq and other countries as well. that's where we see a large amount and where we have raised the alarm when it comes to religious freedom. when you look at the persecution of religious communities,communities, we're e abuses in crises that what they have faced not only for hundreds of years, but even longer. we're looking at communities that have peacefully coexisted in relative harmony for centuries, and now all of a sudden, with the onslaught with conflict. and of new violence and chaos and so forth, we're seeing them displaced and removed from their homes into the communities, and into unknown and dangerous situations. >> we're seeing these horrifying images coming out of iraq with the jihaddists
killing christians, and never gone after muslim in their shrines. and what's being done? >> there are two ways that we have tried to help the issue. on the one point, we're providing for immediate humanitarian assistance, and whether it's in iraq or neighboring countries in syria, they have the basic necessities that they require. they have access to water, and sufficient food and shelter and so forth, making sure that at least from a humanitarian standpoint, these communities are able to carry on. and i think step two is the longer and harder part, frying to figure out what is the approach and what is the solution to dealing with the displacement and the type of conflict that we're seeing, especially stemming from isil,
that is causing a deep rooted unsettling, and causing a ki construction and wholesale removal from the area. >> that's a tremendous challenge, but secretary kerry said 75 perfection of the world's people live in countries that don't respect religious freedom. that includes antisemitism countries, and all sorts of things that the united states is friends with, places like hungry and france, and saudi arabia. how are we working with those people, with those friends when it comes to religious freedom? >> i think when it comes to the issue of antisemitism in particular, that's something that we made a point of highlighting in the report. we have seen worsening trends in some places in europe as you mentioned, and that's something that's of harm.
in recent polls that we have taken in europe, for example, up to 60% of people in the communities said that they felt more threatened than they had in the past several years. what it means to us, we need to find constructive ways to approach the issue. we need special envoys to approach antisemitism. he has traveled to 15 countries over the last year, and many of them friends, many in europe, and he has engaged in dialogue with both the jewish community leaders and counterparts saying what are the constructive ways to alleviate the issues, and how can we break the trend line when it comes to antisemitism. >> it's sad that we're seeing this, even in the 21st century. coming up, the humanitarian crisis around the world are overwhelming the relief efforts by relief organizations to help the suffering, and we'll talk
to doctors without borders about their heroic work. and then shocking videos, what life would be like if the child in a syrian conflict were unfolding in account u.s. aj consider this in our facebook and google plus pages. >> the leader of the nation's largest teacher's union lily eskelsen garcia >> people really do still believe in their teachers >> defending tenure... taking on standardized tests and fixing education in america >> put authority and power in the hands of the people in that school >> every saturday join us for exclusive, revealing, and surprising talks with the most interesting people of our time. >> talk to al jazeera only on al jazeera america
>> the syrian civil war continues to convulse the middle east. in the years since it began, over 700,000 people have been killed. and 9 million displaced. and millions have fled to other countries. even when others drive this from the headlines, doctors without borders continues it's heroic work. volunteers from the nobel prize-winning ngo have delivered 3,000 emergency room consultations, on thousand
surgeries, and outpatient visits and babies. in places from hospitals to caves to tents. doctors without borders call attention to suffering in syria and neighboring countries. a reach of war that looks at one day in the conflict. here's a sample. >> it's what the patient needs now, not tomorrow, not in a week. >> for more, i'm joined here in new york by tara newel, who was in syria with doctors without borders. the videos are very powerful, depressing because they show the suffering, and the powerful because they show the work that your doctors do in those war-torn areas. the message that you're trying to get out, there's no way, the numbers are horrible with the deaths and the displaced. but there's no way 20 understand the magnitude of what has happened.
>> you know, the data is staggering, and that's something that gets reported in the media often, but what gets lost is the human face to the whole conflict. and it's so easygoing into the fourth year of this conflict to be desensitized, if you will, to the whole thing, and i think a big part what have we're trying to do and say is there's such a human element to it, that people just need to understand, so i come back myself from being there for a year, trying to explain to my family how in view of very developed and modern people, people like you and me, who sent their children to school with a spiderman backpack, or soccer practice after school, and tv in their homes, and suddenly, the whole bottom has fallen out for them. and suddenly, you have no more access to healthcare, and you and i take for granted that we can go into a hospital and get
care, and your children are dying of preventable things that would be unheard of in the conflict. >> doctors have had to set up clinics in chicken farms, in caves, and under crazy circumstances, and the syrian government is not allowing them on their territory. and i know you're in parts of syria where the government is not in control. but what about the danger to the doctors, because you have the savagery of the isis group which dominates a large portion of syria. >> the conflicts, and access is to hard. and we have had to be creative in delivery of our programs for that region. and we have had to juggle it with the beneficiaries that we're trying to serve, and the security of our staff. it's not just the expatriate staff but all of the doctors in the hospitals, but i've been there and they have a disregard for humanitarian principles,
which is difficult for us. i've worked in many contacts around the world, where at the end of the day, at least ambulances were respected and we don't see that in syria. >> you see doctors in jordan and lebanon and iraq working with people. and let's look at the doctors, and a trauma surgeon at work. >> we have the three new cases coming. >> some of these doctors are working around the clock. this doctor was a refugee himself. how many people are there like him, who, in your group, who come to it because of their personal experiences? >> we have so many people working for us, i mean, expatriate staff as well as national staff, some of which, as you mentioned, are refugees
themself, and it's extraordinary how many people are willing to put themselves out there and risk their lives to help. but to be honest, once you get there, you're compelled to help. and these people are so, so -- >> there's so much need and so much suffering, from little kids to old people, across the board, and these refugee camps are cities, place was 100,000 people. the reach of war, and in this case, it's a psycho therapist working in northern iraq. >> if anybody tells them, you have to stay here for another two months and you can go back home, people would cope easily. but nobody can tell them when they can leave the camp, or if they can go back. >> so it's not just the physical suffering but the psychological suffering, and as you said, their lives are completely up turned, and what does that do to their psyche?
>> to be honestly, i can't imagine myself because i can't say that i've been through it. but to be honest, these are normal people, living normal lives when everything fell out, so the psychological trauma is enormous. during the time that i was there, the psychological process that we saw, the severity was greater and greater as we went on. they have lost people, and they no longer have a place to go. and we don't see an end in sight. four years into t. i can't predict how this is going to go. and that plays on them. when is this going to end? when will this nightmare end? it's got to be impossible to live with. >> what can people do to hem doctors without borders? we listen to a young girl, who lost both her legs and lost her mother. and it's horrifying, the need of the people there. so what can people do for doctors without borders? >> the first thing that we with
the to happen is for people to understand what's happening, and people to be compassionate about what's happening, and see the human side of it. and part of the work we do is to witness what we see and share with people, it's actually important to us. and other than that, of coursing able to support cross-border supply of goods, the nations making an effort to try to get supplies in, and the international community really needs to speak out about this. it's very underwhelming, the international response to this crisis, and i think that we need to get together and speak of the need for the humanitarian access to populations that are so much in need. >> a pleasure to have you with us. >> thanks. >> with so many humanitarian crisis he's in the middle east, getting people together in syria can be difficult.
>> for more, i'm joined from washington d.c. by mike al clausen, save the children, and the video is suddenly very powerful. how many people have seen it, and what has the response been like so far? >> it has been a very strong response. over 13 and a half million viewers have seen that video, and it's our effort to connect people with what's going on over there by bringing it over here. and you're left to confront the horror that children and families in syria face day in and day out. >> the number of children whose lives have been killed, 7,000 killed. and 1.2 million are refugees, and one quarter mill have been denied an education and 5 million need emergency help. this is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. >> it's horrific circumstances
and that's why we're so glad so many have seen this film. and we mark the anniversary with the conflict in syria, and we hope that the world can turn a corner and start getting humanitarian aid to help the people in syria, and bring about the profess of political settlement. >> talking about the humanitarian aid, an incredible 18% of children under five are refugees, and they have had to leave syria. if that conflict happened in the united states, one in 40 of children of that age would have been driven from a their homes. is the issue that it has been going on for so long, that is almost drives people away from giving rather than helping? >> i think that the numbers are staggering, and people feel numb and there's nothing they can do about it. but in point of fact, there are several things. one, there's certainly a lot of
assistance that the save the children is providing, and they will be able to put bread on people's tables, and mel care, and livelihood and all sorts of support. and we need resources to do that. but the leaders want to understand that people need to show solidarity with people in syria, and we need to open up the channels for bringing the assistance in, and efforts to bring about a political settlement. people can raise their voices. >> that's the point, they have not been particularly willing to negotiate. and we're showing some of the horrible pictures from refugee caverns, and how it snowed. and it was freezing cold, and the people have been living in tents in some cases. more than 2 and a half million syrians are struggling to survive outside of syria, and every day we're seeing new pictures of fighting, and it goes on and on. what can people do to help save
the children and other organizations to help these people. >> i have not been inside of syria, but i have certainly visited our work in neighboring countries, and save the children is now reaching over 1 million people front inside of cells, and in neighboring countries, they have sought refuge. people can provide support to do that work, and they can encourage their governments to step it up, and make sure that more humanitarian aid is getting to people inside of syria. that's where the gap is right now. there's pretty good assistance being provided to refugees in jordan and iraq and egypt, but one of the shortfalls is people inside of syria, and we have to do more to get the aid in. the security council passed for aid, and it was a breakthrough. >> it's incredible to contemplate what it means with all of these children suffering, and not getting educations and what it will
mean for the whole region. michael klosson, thank you very much. straight ahead, former president, jimmy carter, joins us to discuss abuse against women, what he calls the most serious issue we face. and how murder and other physical intimidation is stopping you from hearing some of the world's most important stories, and how journalists are calling the obama administration the most hostile in u.s. history. >> on the stream, >> the usda pulls 770 inspectors from poultry processing plants. join us on the stream to find out what that means for your food safety. >> the stream on al jazeera america
>> welcome back to a special edition of freedom under fire. we return to a call to action by former president, jimmy carter, with what he calls the most serious challenge in the world, the deprivation and abuse of women and girls. a false interpretation of religious texts, almost exclusive did i powerful male leaders to proclaim women's lower status, and he said violence and warfare, following the example set by the u.s. has also played a role as violence
encourages more violence. the book is "a call to action, women, violence and power." i spoke to the former nobel peace winner and asked him what causes this. >> the carter administration is in 79 countries, and since i left the white house, that's what we have been doing, and we have gotten to know people in third world nations, particularly where women and girls are especially bruised. but people can do something about it. and i have 23 recommendations in the book that can solve these. but in the rich world, particularly in the united states, and a lot of problems occur in the poorest countries, the backward countries of the world, we might call them, and also, here in the united states. slavery. slavery exists now on the international scene is much greater than it ever was in the
19th century, when black people were brought out of africa, and there's $32 billion worth of human trafficking every year, and the state department is required to report on this annually. they reported last year that 800,000 people were sold across international borders per year, and 80 perfection of those sold into slavery are girls for safe purposes. >> and thousands of them in the united states. >> thousands of them in the united states, not all of them were sold across borders, but the number-one place in america is atlanta, because we have the largest airport on earth. and also, because a lot of our passengers on the airplanes come from the third world, from the southern part of the world where the girls can be bought cheaper. so you can buy a pimp, or a brothel owner can buy a girl for about $1,000 if she comes
from asia ar latin america. >> we got all kinds of responses of people who want to ask questions, and we have a viewer who asked, heather, she asked, how can we fight trafficking in the u.s.? >> well, i think that the united states has to take the leadership on the entire world basis. there is a -- i'm talking about girls and women, because they are sold into slavery. there's an international convention of the united states called the convention on the end of discrimination against women, cedw. and the united states has refused to ratify this treaty, this convention that exists, because we don't want anything to do with the eyewitnes united natios in the conservative senate. and there's another one called the law of violence against women. and it requires that every country tab late not only their own
crimes, but the decreasing violence against women. so those aren't things that happen. and another thing that's very terrible in the united states is that the worst places for sexual abuse in america are two of our greatest institutions. one is universities. >> where we're seeing an epidemic of sexual assault. >> and one out of four girls enrolled in universities have been raped or had sexual abuse while in college, and only 40% are reported. and one sixth as much. >> and the other institution is the military. as a navy officer and commander happening. >> it's a problem because the commanding officer doesn't want to admit that in his chain of command, that in his battalion,
sexual abuse takes place, so he discourages the women from reporting. and the same thing happens with college presidents and deans, who be don't want to bring a bad name to the university of georgia, harvard or the university of chicago, et cetera. >> so were you upset when they took the sexual assault out of the chain of command. >> they made slight improvements about how much you can harass a woman who is raped in court. there was a very horrible case of a midshipman in aid naval academy, which i attended, and for three days, he was interrogated by the football player, the offender, the lawyer for 21 hours in three days, and asked to let off for the next day because she was tired and the judge ruled against her and made her testify on saturday as well. and they asked her horrendous questions, how many times have
you kicked a boy, what kind of underwear were you wearing, and have you ever had sex before you came naval academy and how wide do you open your mouth when you give oral sex to a boy. when you are a woman and you are accused, don't make a charge against your rapist. >> thank you say that it's the biggest worldwide challenge. >> it's unaddressed. >> it is. >> and in a world where we're facing nuclear proliferation, wars, terrorists, why do you challenge? >> let's look at the number of people that die because of this. we know that about 35 million people were killed in the second world war, right? and during the war between the states, and the civil war in america, 600,000 people were killed. at this moment, there are 160 million girls who are
missing because they have been killed by their parents. either at birth, they strangled the baby because it's a girl and they need to have boys, or because they have sonograms, and they can detect the sex of a fetus while it's in the embryo stage, and they can abort that child because it's female. so almost an entire generation of girls are missing from the face of the earth. >> it's called genocide, girls, and it's the most powerful one. >> and it's not known. people don't care, because for instance, in china and india, they limit the size of families, and if a family doesn't have social security, they want to have boys so they can support them in their old age, so they can have a maximum of one or two children, they want to make sure that they have a boy. there's a movement that came
out recently, it's a girl. and it premiered in november, a movie. and a woman from india said that it's not without any shame, she strangled eight daughters when they were born as infants. so this goes on around the world, and the usb need united s needs to take a leadership role in stopping this manned story prostitution. >> you are deeply religious, but you are critical of the role of religion when it comes to girl. >> i'm a christian, but there's no word in the bible or in the words of jesus christ that rel gates women to the second position. jesus was a champion of women's rights, and he made women a higher status than had ever been before him. but there are verses that you can extract from the bible, in the old testament, some writings of
paul, you can interpret one way or the other. >> it's men interpreting this. >> well, it is. until the third century, women played a very strong role in all of the christian churches, including the catholic church. but as paul pointed out, there were 25 leaders that he interrogated and half of those are women. but in the roman catholic church, a women can't be a priest or deacon, and in the southern baptist convention, and in the universities at the higher level, in the baptist convention, if a woman is a teacher in a seminary, they can't teach boys in the classroom. >> you and mrs. carter left because of the positions on women. and you, as you said, have been critical of the catholic church, and you have communicated with pope francis. >> i have, i think he's a great leader and i have hopes for him.
and i communicated with pope john paul ii, and i found almost complete inflexion ability there. but i wrote pope francis a letter describing some of the issues in my book and asked him to help minimize the abuse of women and it girls. i didn't ask him to change the catholic position on women and priests, and he wrote me a very nice letter back, and he said that he was convinced that the future role of women in the catholic church needed to be strengthened and would be. >> the book is called, "a call to action." president carter, i hope that you come by and visit us on your 29th book. coming up on this special edition of consider this, freedom in the press, why they are calling president obama the
>> work related deaths for journalists worldwide is murder. the savage murder of james foley by islamic state terrorists is a reminder of that danger. felly was kidnapped on thanksgiving day, 2012, and 66 journalists have been killed in syria and 20 are missing. killing the messenger, the deadly cost of news. it focuses on journalists literally dying to tell the story. the video we're showing, we're warning, is graphic. [ gunshots ] >> there's a lot of very brave and extraordinary work that
goes on around the world. world we don't know much about. politicians and society seems to be cynical about journalism, but i see enormous bravely going on and things that the public needs to know about. >> eric matthews and patricia todd co-wrote the film, and diffed reuter was kidnapped and held by the taliban for several months before escaping in 2009. the film has incredible and powerful disturbing images about what's happening to journalists in countries, and the world has gotten more dangerous for reporters. >> absolutely, and the key is the number one problem, the impunity that allows these situations to your. the number of journalists that were in jail when we finished the film in 2012 was 280
workers, and last year, the number went down slightly. but the problem is, as you pointed out, the journalists being taken and imprisoned is going on around the world. and it's a result of the fact thats this an atmosphere of impunity that allows it to happen. >> patricia, there have been many more killings of journalists since the year 2000 pretty much, more than any time in the past. >> yes, this is true. the journalists, are controlling the message, and it's happening around the world. russia and mexico, and particularly in russia and mexico, you see it happening with different methods, but you kill one journalist and you silence many, it's a shame, and it's tragic and pervasive. >> and david, kidnapping is a huge issue, something that you suffered through.
the taliban, tell us about your experience. >> i was in afghanistan, 2008, working on a book, and i decided before my book that i wanted to interview a taliban commander, and i met this commander. he had done previous interviews with european journalists, and he abducted us and held us there for seven months, and we were very lucky to escape. it has gotten worse. as we sit here, there are at least 30 journalists that have been kidnapped in syria, most of them by jihaddist rebels, and that's impressive. more than ever in iraq or afghanistan. >> and it's worse in syria than anywhere else, but it's also virtually impossible to report on the wars, or the drug cartels or the drug wars without endangering yourself. >> the real dangers are for local
journalists. the vast majority of those dying are russian journalists or mexican journalists. there was a rash of killings with european journalists. and jihaddists, they all do it. >> patricia, as you spoke to other journalists that burp talking to earlier, it has a tremendous affect on them when their colleagues are getting targeted and kidnapped. >> yes, definitely. we spoke to one journalist in mexico, and he left mexico, because he was not only getting threats by his family, but he was getting threats. their families, and how it impacts the community at large, and the information that they get. it happens over and over. people are practicing sensorship because they don't want to end up statistics. >> they spend a lot of time on the mexican drug carpet els, and how they have been brutal
with journalists. is there any hope when they bribe officials and threaten journalists? >> i think with the mexican officials, there are a number of problems that go beyond what we see with the situation with the cartels. there's a lot of good work done by those in the community to get the federal government to pass a law that makes the killing of a journalist a federal crime. but like so many laws we see globally that purport to protect journalists, it ends up being a hyperbole, and doesn't have any teeth in it. but cases in russia of journalists being kidnapped and beaten and censored in this violent way, they'red and written off as a random crime. there's no attempt to connect the crime against the journalists with the work that they have been doing to see if the mastermind may have had
something to gain by violencing this journalist. >> you tell harrowing stories, putin? >> well, it's in the news every day, and it's not getting any better, as the olympics are approaching, there's not a lot of critical reporting being done that isn't having a backlash of some sort. investigative journalism, it will be a shame if he succeeds, and people need to report what's going on, and they need to expose it and get it out there so the population can make informed decisions. >> tremendous corruption in sochi that's being ignored because of the corruption. and david, final question, what's it like for a journalist to operate in environments like this? >> well, you do it, to be frank, there are more journalists dying in the conflict.
and soldiers at much greater risk, and you want to bring out the truth. it's a noble profession. i love it, and i will do it as long as i can. you hope this doesn't happen to you, but it's so constant that it's almost a numbers game. if you were going to go to these countries, eventually something is going to go wrong, and it's the impunity. governments have to be stopped and letting it go unpunished. >> it's very powerful and certainly a look to everyone. eric matthews, patricia todd and david rhode. thank you for joining us tonight. >> the united states falls on 36 on the reporters without boarders freedom index. i think that al jazeera helps connect people in a way they haven't been connected before. it's a new approach to journalism. this is an opportunity for americans to learn something. we need to know what's going on
continued effort to see them free, but journalism isn't under assault only in other countries, but here as well with the birthplace of freedom of the press. last june, the u.s. represented the peal that risen could not appeal to testify because he was a journalist. he had refused to testify in the trial of cia eight, david sperling, who was indicted in 2010 for allegedly giving risen information for a book, but now he could face jail time. jim, it's very good to have you with us, and thank you for joining us. you recently spoke at the secrets conference in march, and you had this to say about the obama administration. >> they are now perceived widely within the journalistic industry, as the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered as an industry in
at least a generation. >> now, others have echoed your comments, and president obama promised a lot of transparency during his campaign, and you said that the administration has doubled on down on bush administration tactics, doing things that the bush administration had barely considered. >> i don't think there's much doubt about it anymore that the track record is pretty clear. they have had more leak investigations and more leak prosecutions, and have jailed more people in connection with stories that have appeared in the media than any other adenines has ever had. they have crackdown on reporters in various ways over the last fewer years, as well as whistle blowers, and they have tried to shut off the flow of information from the government to the people, which is the whole point of the first amendment.
>> and you also said that the administration is trying to create a de facto secret sect, so only the facts that the government wants to be heard are heard. how? >> well, one way they have done it is by prosecuting and going after and conducting criminal investigations of stories that they don't like. if you -- if the people write stories in my case in a bang, it's a good chance that they will conduct a leak investigation, if it involves in their mind, some aspect of national security. so they will be happy to provide information, officially leaked, through the white house, and officially sanctioned that makes the obama administration's national security policies look good. but stories that raise serious questions, that investigate u.s. policy, are much more
likely to be subjected to a criminal leak investigation by the fbi and the justice department. the justice department is being used by the obama administration of like president nixon used an enemy's list. it's just a more officially sanctioned version of an enemy's list. >> the white house has called for clemency for aljazeera journalists in egypt, but what kind of message does it send to the rest of the world when the administration itself is facing so much criticism from journalists? >> that's what i think is the most important thing that we should be thinking about here. what is the message that the obama administration is sending to the rest of the world in the way that it's handling press freedom, or cracking down on press freedom here? it is providing, in my opinion, the word -- the messages going out from washington to the rest
of the world that it's okay to crackdown on reporters, so countries like egypt are getting that message, and i believe that the way that the obama administration has cracked down on press freedom has sent a green light to countries like egypt that it's okay to jail reporters. >> the crackdown that you're talking about, including your case, without borders press freedom index had the you saw plum he wanting to only 6th in the world when it comes to press freedoms, and do you think that we'll see a field law? there are different proposals that made some progress in the house and the senate, but it's likely if it becomes law, they will have to have a national security exception. >> it's difficult to tell right now which way the legislative
process is going to go. but the problem, i'm not sure which way congress is going to end up going, but the problem that the obama administration has brought on itself is that it has performed, done all of this crackdown at the same time it says it supports shield legislation, so it has a very mixed message that they're sending, and as i said, they're sending this message to the rest of the world that i think is very dangerous. which is the home of the first amendment is cracking down on journalism, so everywhere else, you can do same thing. >> when the press is being cracked down on everywhere on the earth. that's all the time we have. you can find us on twitter@aj consider this, and tweet me.